Burn victim's tears of despair turn to tears of joy thanks to Good Samaritan

Jean Rose Sosibo (Supplied to News24)
Jean Rose Sosibo (Supplied to News24)

Durban – Just a few days ago, burn victim Jean Rose Sosibo was crying in despair. Her body hurt, but her heart hurt too. An all-important medical file had disappeared, and with it, her chances of getting a government grant.

But on Tuesday, Sosibo wept tears of joy. Her story had touched the heart of a South African academic now living in the United Kingdom. So struck was he with her plight that he decided to send her a cash gift "to spend any way she wants".

The 36-year-old academic, who asked to remain anonymous and did not disclose the amount of the gift, said he felt all of the woman's pain when he read about her ordeal.

"My heart broke because surely there is someone out there who can bypass all of this bureaucracy and help this woman.

"I was just hurt by the injustice of it all and felt sorry that she had to go through all of that. It's crazy," he said.

Grateful

Sosibo, overcome with emotion when she heard the news, said: "Last year I spent Christmas at home nursing my wounds. We didn't do anything special because I only earned R600.

"It's like he knows that I am a widow and there is nothing much I can do with R600. I am so very grateful. Even if he gave me only R100, it would not matter. I am just thankful for that man's kindness."

Last week Sosibo, 50, told News24 that she was burnt on her face, hands and feet when the tyre of the minibus taxi she was travelling in burst on July 4, 2014. The taxi, which was travelling from Ixopo to Springville, caught fire and five people died.

She was rushed to Christ the King Hospital in Ixopo and transferred to Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi on July 5. She was discharged on July 9 and told to get further treatment at Christ the King Hospital.

When she arrived at the hospital, she discovered that a file containing her medical history was lost and could not be recovered.

- READ MORE: KZN woman says lost medical file ruined her life

She said this had ruined her life because her application for a social grant was turned down without the supporting medical documents.

The KZN Health Department has yet to explain to Sosibo what happened to her medical records or how it planned to assist her.

The Road Accident Fund hesitantly stepped in when she was able to provide a duplicate sheet of paper containing some information about the accident.

Slipping through the cracks

The Good Samaritan said he couldn’t understand why the government couldn't do more to help Sosibo.

"She is the kind of person that slips through the cracks and there is no one there to help her, and that is the reason why I decided to help."

The man said he hopes that other readers would join him in assisting Sosibo.

"This is my Christmas present to her because I saw that she earned only R600. They must not have much, so I am hoping that she will do something nice for her family. She can do whatever she likes with the money," said the man who promised to transfer his gift into Sosibo's account on Tuesday.

Sosibo earlier told News24 that prior to the accident, she led a simple life, supporting her two children.

"I was a very confident and warm person, until that day. Today, I cannot even look at myself in the mirror," she said.

She was sitting in the back seat and tried to jump over the seats when the taxi burst into flames. "I could feel my face burning. I could feel my hands and feet burning and I saw the other passengers burning. Some of them died. I will never forget that day."

Unbearable pain

Sosibo said the loss of the medical file had made her life increasingly difficult.

"I worked on a government co-operative that cleans roads in Ixopo and since the accident I cannot be in the sun for too long because my skin starts to burn. When it is cold, I get sick because my skin is so sensitive."

She said the pain was unbearable, and she was forced to quit her job.

So far she had been unsuccessful in getting help from the South African Social Security Agency because they require the medical records to prove what had happened.

There is a flicker of hope that the Road Accident Fund could assist. "I only had one sheet of paper with me and it didn’t have enough information about my medical record. They took it and said they would get back to me."

Repeated attempts to get comment from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health proved unsuccessful.

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